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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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CASE STUDY   Sara Ismaeel

Commercializing a new transfection reagent

Goal

The goal of this exercise is to synthesize market information about products, customers and competitors in order to develop a simple marketing strategy to commercialize a new product. It is intended to show the value of including customer feedback and competitive analysis as well applying critical thinking to a business question. It also highlights the value of integrating marketing into product development early in the process.

Background

A new transfection reagent has been developed by a team of life scientists at HoyaFECT, LLC, a start-up at the Georgetown University Biotechnology Incubator (GUBI).  The team of R&D scientists is quite excited about how their new product performs in their laboratory and has other ideas to develop novel transfection technology and additional transfection reagents. A marketing manager at GUBI collected the following information from a mix of government, academic and industry scientists who conduct basic research at the laboratory bench.  The mix included principal investigators, post-docs, technicians, lab managers and graduate students.  

Data

1. One hundred customers were surveyed to create a list of “non-price” purchasing attributes for reagents used to transfect mammalian cells in the laboratory. The list of attributes articulated by the survey participants include:

• High transfection efficiency

• Fast & easy to use

• Works with a broad range of cell types

• Works in serum or serum-free conditions

• Works with DNA, RNA or proteins

• Reputation of the supplier

• Works with difficult to transfect cells

• Low cytotoxicity

2. To understand the relative importance of these attributes, the survey participants were then asked to spread 100 points across the eight attributes.  Results are:

• High transfection efficiency- 25

• Fast & easy to use- 5

• Works with a broad range of cell types- 10

• Works in serum or serum-free conditions- 10

• Works with DNA, RNA & proteins- 15

• Reputation of the company- 5

• Works with difficult to transfect cells- 10

• Low cytotoxicity- 20

3. Ten of the customers were then asked to do a side-by-side evaluation of the GUBI product with three other competitive products.  They rated the products on the attributes using a ten-point arbitrary scale, where 1 is “negative” and 10 is “positive”.  

The marketing manager converted the ratings to a weighted score by multiplying the rating by the importance weight.  The results of the external evaluation are tabulated in Table 1.

Table 1. Competitive Comparison of Transfection Reagents

Non-price Attributes

Importance Weight

Competitor A

Competitor B

Competitor C

GUBI

Rating

Score

Rating

Score

Rating

Score

Rating

Score

1.  High transfection efficiency

25

9

2.25

7

1.75

3

0.75

8

2.00

2.  Fast & easy to use

5

8

0.40

8

0.40

8

0.40

8

0.40

3.  Works with a broad range of cells

10

6

0.60

10

1.00

8

0.80

8

0.80

4.  Works in serum or serum-free conditions

10

7

0.70

8

0.80

5

0.50

8

0.80

5.  Works with DNA, RNA & proteins

15

5

0.75

5

0.75

5

0.75

8

1.20

6.  Reputation of the company

5

3

0.15

10

0.50

6

0.30

8

0.40

7.  Works with difficult to transfect cells

10

8

0.80

7

0.70

10

1.00

8

0.80

8.  Low cytotoxicity

20

9

1.80

6

1.20

6

1.20

8

1.60

Sum of Importance Weights

100

7.45

7.10

5.70

8.00

Composite scores for each competitive product were determined by adding up the weighted scores. This provides a way to compare the products overall and on each of the eight attributes.

4. The marketing manager determined the list price for the competitive products while doing an Internet survey. It was further determined that each company collected actual shipping expenses from the customer. Competitor C was the low price player and the marketing manager normalized the prices against the lowest price of $172 (x10).

Price

Competitor A

Competitor B

Competitor C

Cost per 1 ml

$205.00

$224.00

$172.00

Normalized

8.39

7.68

10.00

5. The marketing manager found market share information on the three competitors from a summary of the transfection market printed in a trade journal. Overall, the global market for transfection reagents was estimated at $1.2 billion USD.

Market Share

Competitor A

Competitor B

Competitor C

% of Target Market

10%

35%

25%

6. Finally, the marketing manager went back to the survey participants to compare the non-price attributes to the price by allocating 100 points between the two criteria. Participants came back and said price would make up 30% of their buying decision while the sum of the non-price attributes would make up 70% of their buying decision.

All Attributes

Importance Weight

Competitor A

Competitor B

Competitor C

Rating

Score

Rating

Score

Rating

Score

Non-price Attributes as a Group

70

7.45

5.22

7.10

4.97

5.70

3.99

Price

30

8.39

2.52

7.68

2.30

10.00

3.00

Sum of Importance Weights

100

7.73

7.27

6.99

Exercise  

Tips: Make a list of assumptions from the information at hand. Use critical thinking before answering the questions. Read each question carefully and completely. Assume you are preparing a document for the senior management team of GUBI.

1. Based on the information provided, would you recommend commercializing the product? Why or why not?

based on the information from table 1, I would recommend commercializing the product. The GUBI product has rating 8 in all attributes which makes it good choice for customers unlike competitors' products where the rating fluctuates especially in the high weighted attributes.

2. How useful is the information that was collected in reaching your decision? Is there additional information you would like to see?

The given information was reasonable but it wasn't strong enough to figure out the transfection reagent price. As the manager here didn't detect the data about HoyaFEC list price and if there is a shipping expenses fee or not for the transfection reagent also he didn't mention any thing about the government, academic and industry scientists background. knowing these information's are an important factor to determine whether the transfection reagent will attract the customer compared to the three competitors.

3. Assume that the company will proceed to commercialize the reagent. Address the selected aspects of a marketing plan:'

A. Executive Summary

-  Overview: HoyaFECT, LLC. Is a start-up transfection reagent development company based in Washington D.C. The   company is innovative and unique in that it is developing a new technology to produce the first transfection reagent for laboratory application , which can improve cell line outcome by reducing cytotoxicity and can work efficienctly with different cell type . Corporate objectives include having a product in market by 2017. This will be achieved through careful financial planning and in depth analysis of the market.

- Market: Currently the transfection reagent industry estimated at $1.2 billion USD. At HoyaFECT,LCC, the revenue expected to gorw in the next 5 years around $4.2 Billion that because of the advancements of the R&D in the transfection technology, and the  progress in the life science nowadays.  On the other hand, the demand for the transfection reagent is increasing day by day due to the progress in the life science.

- Competitive: The team of R&D scientists has develop a new powerful  transfection reagent that has a Higher efficiency and lower toxicity than all commercially available transfection reagents currently on the market. Competitor B has only two strong point, their transfection reagent work with many type of cell beside their good reputation, while competitor C is second priority, Competitor A consider a weak competitor.

- The company is launching its first efficient transfection reagent that uniquely combined all the attribute in one. It works with DNA, RNA or protein, it is fast and easy, works in serum or serum-free conditions also works with a broad range of cell types with low cytotoxicity at the same time. It is launching their product in 2017, and is a accomplishing a precise marketing plan to inter the market, success and to expand their market share by developing new novel transfection technology and additional transfection reagents in the near future.

B. Product Description: Describe your product's characteristics. What will the product look like? Consider packaging, components, labeling, size, etc.

- This innovative technology well be available in 1mL, packaged in a small white and blue box. A protocol for DAN, RNA, protein transfection will be provided inside the box. The product will have labeling that will clarify the storage temperature, which supposed to be stored at 4 °C explaining for the customer the instruction use and limitation to let the product stable and last for a long time of period if stored properly.

C. Pricing: What is the basis of your pricing strategy? Consider list price, package size, discounting, etc.

- A 200$ for transfection reagent would be priced as a cost effective which is a strategy the let the customer pay for the unique feature that reflect the value of the product cost. HoyaFECT's transfection reagent will serve all customer needs when creating all the non-price attribute in one product unlike other competitor that their attribute fluctuates not stable as HoyaFECT's product, beside it will cover the shipping fee. In addition to the high quality of packaging.

D. Features & Benefits: Make a list of three key product features and articulate a benefit for each. [Feature/Benefit]

- The transfection reagent can work with DNA, RNA & proteins this can benefit the scientist not to spend too much money on different transfection reagent since one can work with many different applications.

- It's also fast & easy to use. This is another feature that can accelerate the result of the experiments and help researchers to progress in the science field

- Another thing is that the product has low cytotoxicity which decrease the contamination in cell culture during working.

E. Target Customer: Describe target customer/audience.

- Biotech Laboratories managers

- Scientist & technicians

- graduate students.  

- Biopharmaceutical companies 

- Biotechnology companies 

- distributors of transfection reagents 

- Research institutes 

F. Positioning: Develop an “Internal Positioning Statement” for your product/brand. Use the template in Unit 3.

- For Scientist & technicians. HoyaFECT, LLC has developed a new transfection reagent. It is the only easiest reagent that can work with all kind of cell efficiently, that is safer and faster than any other commercialized reagent and because of their high quality resource in R&D.

G. Key Message: What is the value proposition you expect to deliver to the customer? How will you communicate the value of this product to your target customer/audience? Describe one marketing tool that would be effective to promote the product to your target market.

- To convince scientist & technicians that HoyaFECT ‘s transfection reagent will help them improve their laboratory research and studies because of the ability of the reagent to work with all cell type efficiently and fast.

- I will use the newspaper advertisement. In particular, I'll choose to publish about the product in the newspaper that includes scientific journals and any newspaper that take apart of science hence these topics always appeals scientist and researcher who would be interesting in knowing new products related to science.

The advertisement will reveal HoyaFECT's first product attribute at the top of the page, telling the customer about how efficient the  transfection regent is and explain to them the ability of the product to work with different cell type, along with integrity of the Georgetown University Biotechnology Incubator (GUBI), with a picture for the reagent.  

4. Prepare a written report covering the selected aspects of a marketing plan as shown above. Assume you are preparing a document for the senior management team of GUBI. [Maximum three pages following the format and order above]

A. Company Overview:

  HoyaFECT, LLC. Is a start-up transfection reagent development company based in Washington D.C.

The team of life scientists, has developed a transfection reagent that is more accurate and easy to utilize than  any other current reagent in the market . Succeed on finding a transfection reagent that can met between low toxicity and transfection efficiency. Found the first reagent that can work for all different application for all cell type, no matter what is the culture condition is or the cell type. All together appear to be efficient for it cost . By combining all the attributes in one, different experimental applications can be better understood.

B. Opportunity:

    There is a large market with a need for an easy and fast transfection reagent. Millions of experiment, research and clinical trial are happened each year, and many are delayed due to the problems of technical dealing with cell transfection. Innovating a unique transfection reagent that has the ability to decrease these issue will help scientist improve their mission. Current transfection reagent has a low efficient transfection, high toxicity and limited to the application type, some must have serum, some are not.

C. Competitor:

HoyaFECT, LLC has three competitor A,B and C. competitor B is main competitor since is taking the  highest market share -35%- , their transfection reagent characterized by having a good performance working with a broad range of cells beside taking advantage of their reputation. But their weakness is that their product can't work with DNA, RNA and protein, not that much easy to transfect a cell and efficient as HoyaFECT's product. On the other hand, competitor C, have took 25% of the market share and that because of one factor only, that their reagent can work with difficult to transfect cell. Competitor A have the less threaten attribute.

  Thus, give the team of life scientists at HoyaFECT,the opportunity to market the product as cost effective, since it has all the feature that  can one of the current reagent can provide .As  HoyaFECT's transfection reagent will give an accurate result and will be affordable for lap application without spending too many for several and inaccurate reagent or for shipping fee too.

D.  Market

The global market for transfection reagents is estimated at $1.2 billion USD and it is expected to increase in the next 5 years around $4.2 Billion. This growth appears due to the advancement in the transfection reagent market which is mainly driven by factor such as: increasing of biotechnology application, R&D funding for Pharma and biotech companies, raising demand for genes synthetic and protein therapeutic and many new scientific research initiatives.

The transfection reagent market is subdivided based on product, type and application. Based on product, the market is segmented into reagent and instrument. When based on type, the market is segmented into biochemical, physical, and viral methods. For application use, the transfection reagent market is categorized into biomedical research, protein production and therapeutic delivery.

   HoyaFECT , LLC, plan to use direct marketing strategies to customer through various advertising mediums. A newsletter advertisement will be published weakly on the first page, written in a bold font, provided with a picture of the product to target Biotech Laboratories managers, Scientist & technicians, graduate students, Biopharmaceutical companies, Biotechnology companies, distributors of transfection reagents, Research institutes all will be targeted, as well as using other kind of commercialization.

E. packaging

The company is launching its first efficient transfection reagent that uniquely combined all the attribute in one. A 1ml of reagent will be packaged in a small white and blue box along with a protocol for proper instruction use. Also, the product Will be labeled to explain the expiration date, storage temperature to save the reagent for a long time.

The future appears bright for the development of transfection reagent as a solution for many scientific purposes and for the advancement in the biotech field. The team of life scientists at HoyaFECT's have one goal is to advance the transfection reagent market with a noval reagent to improve the scientific researches by lunching this innovating reagent to the market and target Biotech, biopharmaceutical companies, distributors of transfection reagents. The team of life scientists   future vision included expanding into other ideas to develop novel transfection technology and additional transfection reagents for research institute.

Due Date

October 17, 2017

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